Does pilates count as strength training?

I often get asked – does pilates count as strength training?  I’ve lived and breathed pilates for many years… I know the results and benefits I personally experienced.  Further, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients and I’ve seen the results they get from consistent pilates practice.

What Is Pilates

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of resistance training and has many benefits.  It can:

  • sculpt and tone your muscles,
  • strengthen your core,
  • improve your posture,
  • lengthen your spine,
  • improve your balance
  • potentially relieve lower back pain or other muscular pain.

It’s a great form of low-impact training that makes it accessible for all genders, ages and fitness levels.  It’s why I love it so much.

Being in the fitness industry, I hold a deep respect for the other types of resistance training – like body building and weight training.  This kind of training helps strengthen muscles by increasing resistance levels (by increasing the weight trained).  This kind of weight training has many benefits, including increased muscle tone, increased strength, increased bone density, increased metabolic rate and weight loss.

Let’s Define Strength Training


According to Wikipedia, strength training can be defined by

Strength training is a type of physical exercise specialising in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles.

A structured strength training program might look like lifting weights with a specified number of repetitions (reps), for a number of sets.  So you might do dumbbell rows with 8 repetitions for 3 sets.  With this approach, you’re likely to find a weight that you can manage in good form (with the onset of fatigue towards the end of your reps).  You will progressively increase the weight as you increase in strength.  In a strict sense, pilates does not necessarily increase with heavier resistance or work your muscles to fatigue as it works with body weight with no extra resistance.

Does Pilates Count As Strength Training?

So How Does Pilates Compare?

However, any pilates beginner will likely experience these similar results – fatigue, a certain level of resistance when working with their body.  Also, reformer pilates works with varying degrees of resistance with the spring levels.  In a typical pilates class you might find yourself working more repetitions in each set, which might have the same effect as doing 8 repetitions of a heavier weight.  With these styles of pilates, there may be an onset of increased strength and improvements in muscle tone.

At Rebalance, we’ve also developed a style of pilates that is based on pilates philosophy, however , we incorporate the use of additional resistance of weights, bands and circles to create the overload required to develop longer, leaner muscles ensuring that you look and feel your best.

Pilates As Strength Training

What if I want to be even more toned?

If you are wanting to look even more toned we would still recommend a heavier strength based lifting program.  However, what I’ve found is many ladies just do not want to or like lifting weights in a gym. So stick with exercises you prefer like Pilates and Yoga!  At Rebalance, we’ve got a range of class styles to suit your needs, including our Reformer classes, as well as our Transform Pilates, Barre and Yoga.

So there you have it.  The answer to “Does pilates count as strength training” lies within a variety of factors… Like the resistance level in the style of training, as well as your fitness level and the overall goals you have.  In most cases you’re likely to experience some improvement in strength when going to a range of pilates classes.  Like all programs, the real results come from having the right mindset, one of balance and flexibility, a wholesome and non-restrictive eating plan and doing exercise that you LOVE!

Here at Rebalance we believe that there is no point in doing exercise that you hate and being a victim to your circumstance. We believe that you must find the type of exercise that makes you FEEL GOOD, EMPOWERS YOU and has you COMING BACK FOR MORE.

Pilates You Love

PS – Don’t be scared of change. It’s where the magic happens! If you want to start living the life of your dreams, join the Rebalance Family by checking out our schedule, or giving us a call

Written by Jennifer Grehan – Rebalance Co-Founder

By | 2017-09-29T03:17:39+00:00 July 16th, 2016|Pilates|0 Comments

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